China, U.S. and Japan Drive 73% of EV Battery Nickel Deployment in May 2019

Jul. 19, 2019

In total, the amount of nickel deployed globally in May 2019 increased by 57% versus the same month the year prior

In May 2019, 73% of all nickel metal equivalent (“NME”) deployed in passenger EV batteries globally went into vehicles sold in China, the U.S. and Japan, collectively, according to Adamas Intelligence’s latest ‘EV Battery Nickel Monthly’ report.

In total, the amount of NME deployed globally in May 2019 increased by 57% versus the same month the year prior on account of rising EV sales and growing adoption of higher-nickel cathode chemistries, such as NCM 523, 622 and 811 (see recent insight from Adamas Intelligence).

China alone was responsible for 40% of all NME deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 versus 38% in May 2018 as passenger EV makers in the nation have increasingly adopted higher energy density NCM cells, which contain nickel, at the expense of lower energy density LFP alternatives that do not. In China, battery nickel is consumed mainly as nickel sulphate.

The U.S. was responsible for 25% of all NME deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019, the same percentage as in May 2018, as sales of high-capacity BEVs, such as the Tesla Model 3, using high-nickel cathode chemistries have remained robust. In the U.S., as in China, battery nickel is consumed mainly as nickel sulphate.

Finally, Japan was responsible for 8% of all NME deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 versus 11% in May 2018. In Japan, nickel is used primarily in NiMH batteries for HEVs as opposed to in China and the U.S. where it is mainly used in Li-ion batteries for BEVs and PHEVs. Owing to this difference, in Japan, battery nickel is consumed mainly as nickel hydroxide and AB5 nickel-REE alloy.

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